Can your employer make you cut your hair?

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2021 | Employment Law |

If you start a new position at work, one of the things you will have to do is follow the workplace dress code. Many employers have a dress code that regulates visible tattoos and piercings, clothing, makeup and other aspects of your appearance. 

As long as those requirements aren’t discriminatory, they are normally allowed. However, if they become discriminatory, they are not. 

Can men and women have different dress codes?

Yes. For example, a men’s dress code may ask that you do not have hair longer than your collar while the women’s dress code does not mention hair length. All men are treated equally with the dress code, so it’s unlikely that it would be seen as discriminatory. 

However, if it was only Black men or only Asian men asked to cut their hair, then that would be a discriminatory dress code. Similarly, telling someone who has a religion that does not allow them to cut their hair to cut it or lose their job would also be discriminatory. 

Employees may ask for exemptions due to religion or other factors as long as they don’t place an undue burden on the employer. For example, if the employer requires everyone to maintain short hair due to the danger of hair getting caught in machinery, then you would have to show that not having short hair would not burden the employer. You might suggest a reasonable accommodation, like wearing a cap or some other alternative to minimize the risk to yourself and others in a hazardous environment. 

Dress codes are allowed, but if you feel that the one you have to deal with is discriminatory, then you should look into your rights more closely. 

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